Jim Lauderdale | London Southern
Jim Lauderdale makes even Ryan Adams seem like a slouch. Since 1986, the two-time Grammy winner has released just about an album a year. And, on his latest, he’s not yet showing any signs of fatigue.
In fact, the songs on his first LP recorded in the London area stand proudly alongside those the “songwriter’s songwriter” has written for the likes of Elvis Costello, George Strait, and The Dixie Chicks. Performed with Nick Lowe’s band – as well as guest horn players and, for the first time, a string section – they’re just as diverse.
There’s the old-time country swing of opener ‘Sweet Time’, its no-nonsense acoustic guitar, upright bass, and brushed drum instrumentation complemented by piano and organ as Lauderdale croons sweet nothings like “they say that love is patient and kind”.
There’s the classic soul of the introspective ‘We’ve Only Got So Much Time Here’, brassy celebration ‘You Came To Get Me’, and as-good-as-Van Morrison ‘I Can’t Do Without You’; the Motown vibes of the silky smooth ‘What Have You Got To Lose?’; the smoky jazz club performance of the seductive ‘If I Can’t Resist’; and the off-the-cuff goodtime rockabilly of ‘This Is The Door’.
And there’s the tastefully orchestrated ballad ‘I Love You More’ that, despite the presence of violins, violas, cello, alto flute, and oboe, achieves sensitive subtlety rather than saccharine schmaltz – partly down to Lowe’s producers Neil Brockbank and Robert Trehern putting Lauderdale’s sincere vocals front and centre.
That voice – pure, strong, and versatile – is one of the main reasons the 12 musically diverse songs complement each other so well, ensuring ‘London Southern’ is a truly cohesive body of work rather than a disparate collection of tracks.